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Botanical Name : Trifolium repens
Common Name :white clover
Habitat : Trifolium repens native to Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. It has been widely introduced worldwide as a pasture crop, and is now also common in most grassy areas of North America and New Zealand. Also grown in spring and summer.
It is a herbaceous, perennial plant. It is low growing, with heads of whitish flowers, often with a tinge of pink or cream that may come on with the aging of the plant. The heads are generally 1.5–2 cm wide, and are at the end of 7 cm peduncles or flower stalks. The leaves, which by themselves form the symbol known as shamrock, are trifoliolate, smooth, elliptic to egg-shaped and long-petioled. The stems function as stolons, so white clover often forms mats, with the stems creeping as much as 18 cm a year, and rooting at the nodes.
Besides making an excellent forage crop for livestock, clovers are a valuable survival food: they are high in proteins, widespread, and abundant. The fresh plants have been used for centuries as additives to salads and other meals consisting of leafy vegetables.
They are not easy for humans to digest raw, however, but this is easily fixed by boiling the harvested plants for 5–10 minutes. Dried flowerheads and seedpods can also be ground up into a nutritious flour and mixed with other foods, or can be steeped into a tisane. White clover flour is sometimes sprinkled onto cooked foods such as boiled rice.
When used in soups, the leaves are often harvested before the plant flowers. The roots are also edible, although they are most often cooked firsthand.
The flower heads are the medicinally active parts. When dry they have a honey-like fragrance and a slightly astringent taste. An infusion is used to treat gastritis, enteritis, severe diarrhea and rheumatic pains. It is also used as an inhalant for respiratory infections. Herbal doctors still employ preparations of white clover to ward off mumps. An old fashioned remedy to cleanse the system. A blood purifier, especially in boils, ulcers and other skin diseases. A strong tea of white clover blossoms is very healing to sores when applied externally. Similar to red clover in use. An infusion has been used in the treatment of coughs, colds, fevers and leucorrhea. A tincture of the leaves is applied as an ointment to gout. An infusion of the flowers has been used as an eyewash.
Trifolium repens has been used as minor folk medicine by the Cherokee, Iroquois, Mohegan and other Native American tribes for centuries.
The Cherokee, for instance, used an infusion of the plant to treat fevers as well as Bright’s disease. The Delaware and Algonkian natives used the same infusion, but as a treatment for coughing and the common cold.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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